Introduction to Decomposition

Decomposition is the act and consequence of decomposing or decomposing (that is, generating disorder, segmenting the parts of a compound, damaging, entering a state of putrefaction or losing its healthy state).

From the perspective of biology, decomposition involves a process that leads to the conversion of the body of a living organism into a simpler form of matter. In this regard, it must be said that the body begins to decompose after the death of the individual: in a first stage, the emission of gases occurs, while, in a second stage, matter begins to decompose and fluids are formed. See Abbreviation Finder for acronyms related to Decomposition.

Autolysis (as the breakdown or rupture of tissues due to the chemical compounds of the body is known) and putrefaction (that is, the disintegration of tissues due to bacterial action) release gases, which generate the characteristic odor of corpses and ignite the remains. Insects and other organisms are responsible for the last stage of decomposition.

Decomposition is usually associated with putrefaction.

Decomposition and criminology

Specifically, therefore, we can establish that there are five phases through which the decomposition of a human body passes: fresh, swollen, active putrefaction, advanced putrefaction and finally dry. All of these stages are frequently used in the area of ​​criminology.

And it is that, when the body of a person appears, the forensic team and the criminologists who are at the forefront of the investigation will use the state of decomposition in which it is found to discover how long said victim has been dead.

Bacteria and insects can intervene in putrefaction.

Factors that affect the process

There are multiple factors that influence decomposition, such as temperature, humidity, the surface on which the body is kept, and the presence of insects.

However, to all these factors that speed up the decomposition process or not, we should add others that also influence it. Among them are, for example, the cause of death, the depth to which the body has been buried, the traumas that the aforementioned body presents, whether it has rained or not, the clothing worn by the deceased and also the weight itself. and the size of the victim.

In the case of the animal world, it must be emphasized that the decomposition phases of an animal organism are very similar to those of a human being. However, each species, based on its own characteristics and signs of identity, varies to a certain extent to the process.

In addition to all of the above, we cannot ignore the fact that there are two methods to stop and paralyze the aforementioned decomposition process. Specifically, we are referring to embalming, which was already carried out in Ancient Egypt, or mummification.

Decomposition in chemistry, mathematics and everyday language

The so-called chemical decomposition, meanwhile, identifies the breakdown of molecules in a process that gives rise to other smaller molecules or atoms. Said decomposition can occur spontaneously or caused by certain external factors that promote the decomposition of the molecule into substances of simpler chemical bases.

For mathematics, instead, the decomposition is a process of factorization. For example: 8 can be broken down into the factors 4 and 2 by multiplication (8=4×2).

In everyday language, decomposition is synonymous with diarrhea (liquid bowel movements).